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The students of the José Echegaray School interview the Chemistry Nobel Laureate Sir Fraser Stoddart

The students of the José Echegaray school in Martorell interviewed the 2016 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Sir Fraser Stoddart on Wednesday, 14 June 2023, as part of their Magnet Alliance with the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona, ICMAB-CSIC.

19 June 2023
Interview with Fraser Stoddart at the José Echegaray School in Martorell.

The Scottish chemist, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of molecular machines with a size a thousand times smaller than the thickness of a hair.

"This morning I visited the José Echegaray School in Martorell, Catalunya, as part of the Magnet Alliances programme. The school kids bombarded me with questions, some of which had me racking my brain to answer!" said Sir Fraser Stoddart in his Twitter after the visit. "It has been one of these mornings - visiting a school - to remember". 

The José Echegaray School has started a Magnet Alliance with the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona, ICMAB-CSIC, to make science the axis of learning at this Martorell educational center. In this context, the 5th grade students interviewed Sir Fraser Stoddart to learn about molecular machines, the motivation to research, the Nobel Prize and the world of science.

Sir Fraser Stoddart, Scottish chemist and professor at Northwestern University (United States) was in our country to receive the Honoris Causa recognition at the University of Barcelona (UB). Stoddart received the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry together with Jean-Pierre Sauvage and Bernard L. Feringa for their development of molecular machines with a size a thousand times smaller than the thickness of a hair.

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Group photo of the visit of Sir Fraser Stoddart at the José Echegaray School on 14 June 2023

The experience was a success, both for the Nobel Laureate and for the school, whose students were very well prepared for the occasion, had a lot of interesting questions prepared and made Stoddart have an unforgettable time. 

Stoddart conveyed his passion for science to students "Everything we see is chemistry, the air, the walls, the chairs... and even we are all chemistry", he said to a room full of 5th year grade students. When talking about what is a scientist like and about his job, he said "To do good projects you need to ask yourself questions. Scientists look for new challenges to progress, but not only in the scientific field, but in all areas. Science allows us to find solutions to improve people's lives". 

The students could see the importance of being a scientist, as Stoddart showed them photos of him with Queen Elizabeth II or with Barack Obama. This, for the students of Magnet schools, which are schools of maximum complexity, is very relevant, since if they do not receive this type of stimuli from the school, they will hardly receive them at home.

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Sir Fraser Stoddart listening to the questions of the 5th grade students at the José Echegaray School on 14 June 2023

Fraser Stoddart was received at the school by Cristina Dalmau, Director of the School, Xavie Fonollosa, Mayor of Martorell, Conxita Márquez, Magnet educational trainer and teachers of the Echegaray School and 5th grade students. He arrived with David Amabilino, Director of ICMAB, CSIC, and Lluïsa Pérez-Garcia, Professor at the University of Barcelona. 

The event was covered by some local press (Martorell Radio and Martorell Television), some regional newspapers (Regió 7) and was largely commented in Twitter, even with the account of Sir Fraser Stoddart himself, who is very active in this social media. 

About the José Echegaray School and the ICMAB, CSIC

The José Echegaray School promotes science, inquiry and experimentation as learning processes to carry out the scientific method and to build knowledge. The expertise of the experts from the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) will help the center on this path to promote scientific learning in students and promote globalized and competitive work.

The Institute of Materials Science  of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) is a multidisciplinary center focused on cutting-edge research in advanced functional materials in the fields of energy, electronics, nanomedicine and their new applications.

Magnet, alliances for educational success

This Magnet program promotes the alliance of an educational center with an institution of excellence in a specific field of knowledge. This alliance allows the educational center to develop an attractuve, innovative and quality educational project,  which becomes a magnetic project of reference in its territory, both for families and for the educational community. The program is inspired on the Magnet Schools in the United States, which have been operating since the 1970s.

The participating institutions are institutions of reference and excellence in a specific field of knowledge (science, technology, art, audiovisual communication, etc.) that have an educational commitment to society, and a great capacity to transfer innovation and knowledge .

The Magnet program brings together 42 educational centers with a total of 11,801 students and 2,210 teachers from 25 municipalities throughout Catalonia. The José Echegaray School is the fourth Magnet center in the Baix Llobregat together with the Madorell School (Molins de Rei) in alliance with the CCiTUB, the Escola La Guàrdia (Sant Vicenç dels Horts) in alliance with the UPC Baix Llobregat and the Margaló School (Castelldefels) in alliance with the Liceu Theater. 

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Sir Fraser Stoddart signing autographs at the José Echegaray School on 14 June 2023

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